Most property insurance claims are covered by Coverages A-D, which is coverage for buildings, personal property, and alternative living expenses or loss of use.  After this tier of coverage are separate coverages often referred to in a separate section and are indeed thought of separately.  These are often called categories as “Additional Coverages” or “Supplemental Coverages” in a policy.

Additional or supplemental coverage involve things such as the following:

  • damage of property to others;
  • loss assessment (such as at a townhome or condominium);
  • fallen trees;
  • damages to shrubs, plants or lawns;
  • ordinance and law;
  • fire department service charge; and
  • collapse

Often the reason why these coverages are thought of separately is that they come with separate policy limits. The declarations might state the policy limits for these coverages, or the main policy form itself might state a smaller coverage limit.  Sometimes the coverage limit can be a separate dollar amount, like $1,000, or a percentage of the overall dwelling or building claim.

These coverages are described as additional coverages because the insurance company attempts to narrow the coverage with unique definitions. Often the definition of a “collapse” is very narrow.  Not all collapses or near collapses receive coverage.  Such narrow definitions call for a separate section rather than try to handle the definition and exclusions amongst the broader coverages for events like fire or hail storms.

Sometimes additional or supplemental coverages have unique exclusions that would not apply to other coverages.  One example of this might be the exclusion for breakage of glass.  Scenarios where some breakages is covered but not others leads an insurer to write a separate coverage section for glass.  It is yet another reason for a separate section in the policy.

One way to find these coverages is to look at the table of contents at the outset of a policy. There ought to be a reference to additional or supplemental coverages, if not a specific reference to coverages such as collapse, fallen trees, debris, etc.  If not, typically such coverages will be after the main coverage section and its exclusions.  The policy declarations, which almost always begin a policy, often state these smaller coverages with a reference to the policy form and page number where to find the coverage.

Bear in mind that state specific amendments to a policy, or other amendments, can modify these coverages. A common example of this might be ordinance and law coverage. Many states mandate that if an insurance company will offer replacement cost coverage that coverage must be the equivalent of what building codes require.  Yet not all state laws include this requirement which is why policies written for nationwide use reflect less coverage. Insurance companies often need state specific amendments to their main policy form to reflect state specific laws. Therefore, the last word on coverage is often not what you find in the main policy form but rather amendments to the main policy form.

Insurance policies are rarely easy. There are declarations, the main policy form, and amendments that modify the main policy form. It can often take someone with experience to understand the forms. Indeed, every year American courts see many cases that arise from trying to understand these policy forms.  If you have difficulty reading your insurance policy take heart that you are likely not alone.

If you have any questions about your additional or supplemental coverages do not hesitate to contact me.